Schooling versus Education

I appreciate the fact that recent comments, like T’s “education is overrated” one from today, keep provoking additional thoughts.  

I’m guessing T was thinking more about schooling than education. If I’m right, I wholeheartedly agree that schooling is overrated, in part because of how little time we spend in school. K-12 students are in class for about 6 hours a day for 180 days a year. If you take the other 10 hours (allowing 8 for sleep) and multiply them by 180 and then add 185 times 16 hours, you discover students spend about 23% of their time in school. It would be less if we adjusted for time spent at lunch, between classes, at sports assemblies, and in classrooms where teachers struggle with classroom management. 

Let’s round down to 20%. The remaining 80% is sometimes referred to as the “societal curriculum” or the positive and negative things students learn from the media, travel, their families, their extracurricular activities, their part time jobs, their religious youth group activities, their summer activities, etc.  When I use the term “education” I’m referring to schooling and the societal curriculum. 

T is a state trooper extraordinaire. My guess is his schooling at the academy was helpful, but his trooper education really began once he got behind the wheel with veteran co-workers.

I’m also guessing T’s critique of schooling would involve far more than how little time is spent in school. He might argue lots of people who learn how to “do school” well lack some combination of mechanical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, financial discipline, real world with-it-ness, and integrity, and I would wholeheartedly agree.

One example among hundreds. Mid 90s and I’m observing a student teacher in a Greensboro, NC high school. Fifth period, standard or remedial English. A student from my intern’s first period Honors English class enters to deliver a note. While handing over the note he asks, “Mr. T, what are you guys studying?” My intern replies something like, “We’re just working our way through the third chapter of Catcher in the Rye.” To which “gifted” student brazenly replies, “Oh man, we finished Catcher in the Rye last week.”

I immediately thought to myself we refer to that student as “gifted” only if we use the narrowest of definitions. That student seemingly read texts much better than he read group dynamics. Of course we want young people to learn to do both, but one could argue reading people well is at least equally as important as conventional reading comprehension.

2 thoughts on “Schooling versus Education

  1. Wow! My earlier comment inspired its very own full post by this blog’s author. How about that for blog-reader customer service?!?! You can’t find that type of service with your larger, more commercial, less personal blogs.

    Ironically though the point of my comment was to compel MORE posts about fitness and LESS posts about education, schooling, or societal curriculum. What are you some sort of professor or something? How about something on Lance Armstrong being a father again or Obama’s “change” or the apparent inability of the City of Olympia to plow the downtown streets!

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